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Dr. Lijuan Li

Research Interest

  • Bioinorganic chemistry: transition metal nitrosyls and biological-activities of inorganic complexes.
  • Inorganic new materials and organometallics.
  • Industrial catalysts: polymerisation catalysts and transition metal clusters.
  • Application of NMR, EPR, IR, UV-vis, spectroscopies, and electrochemical techniques.


Dr. Li received a B.Sc. (Honours) degree from the Department of Chemistry, Jilin University, China in 1983 and studied an M.Sc./Ph.D. in the Institutes of Theoretical Chemistry in the area of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. In 1987, she went to Canada as a Visiting Scientist working in Don Eaton's research group at McMaster University, and transferred to the Ph.D. program in 1988 under the joint supervision of Michael McGlinchey and Donald Eaton. She obtained a Ph.D. (with distinction) in Organometallic Chemistry from McMaster University in 1992.

Dr. Li moved to Ottawa in 1993 to take up a Research Associateship in the Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences at the National Research Council of Canada, where she worked in the Molecular Structure and Dynamics, and Electrochemistry groups under the direction of Keith Preston and Dan Wayner. In 1995, she was hired as Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at McMaster University. In 1998, Dr. Li moved to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001 and full Professor in 2005.

Dr. Li's honors and awards include: Distinguished Faculty Scholarly & Creative Achievement Awards (2010), CSULB Alumni Association Class of 2009 Favourite Professor Award (2009), College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Research Excellence Award (2008), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Women's International Science Collaboration Award (2001), Guest Professor of Jilin University (1998-present), International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Travel Award (1998), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Women's Faculty Award (1995-2000), National Research Council (NRC) Research Associateship (1993-95), Ontario Graduate Scholarship (1990-92), McMaster University Centennial Scholar (1988-92), Yates Fund Scholar (1992), J. R. Longstaffe Scholarship (1989-1990), Excellent Graduate Student Award (1983-86), and Excellent Undergraduate Student Award (1980-83).

As a principal investigator (PI), Dr. Li has received over three million dollars in research funding from the following sources: National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Research Corporation, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS-PRF), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Beckman Foundation, Avery Research Centre, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO), Human Resources Development of Canada, California State University, and McMaster University.

Dr. Li is a Member of the American Chemical Society, the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and elected Member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. She is currently a mentor for the Partners for Success Program, Beckman Scholars Program, NIH-BRIDES Program and NIH-RISE Program.

Current Research Projects

Recent discoveries of the roles of nitric oxide in humans have generated tremendous interest in biologically active transition metal nitrosyl complexes. Among them, the non-heme iron nitrosyl complexes have been identified as products of biosynthetic evolution of nitric oxide, suggested as nitric oxide storage, and found to be responsible for several important biological functions.

Our research program focuses on the chemistry of nitric oxide and on its transition metal complexes of biological interests and/or of potential for developing useful materials. A typical project would involve in synthesis of non-heme iron nitrosyl compounds that mimic biologically active non-heme iron nitrosyls by using specially selected ligands that model amino acids of protein and DNA. Some typical reactions are shown bellow:

chemical reactioncompound in ball and stick model formation compound in ball and stick model formation

The reaction mechanisms and structures of these complexes will be studied by a combination of spectroscopic methods, such as FT-IR, EPR, NMR, UV-vis, X-ray crystallography, electrochemical techniques, and DFT calculations.

Diagram showing comparison chartchemical reaction

These results will provide information on the structures of biologically active non-heme iron nitrosyls, thus helping identify the NO releasing metal complexes, which could be used in cardiovascular muscle relaxation, cancer therapy, etc.


  1. L. Li, S. Yue and Z. Qiu "ESR and NMR Studies of Three Reduced M6O19n- Heteropolyanions", Chinese Journal of Microwave & Radio-Frequency Spectroscopy, 3(2), 171-181 (1988).
  2. L. Li, R. E. Perrier, D. R. Eaton and M. J. McGlinchey "The Reaction of Nitrosoarenes with Cationic Cyclohexadienyl Complexes of Iron Tricarbonyl: An ESR Study" Canadian Journal of Chemistry, 67, 1868-1877 (1989).
  3. L. Li, D. R. Eaton and M. J. McGlinchey "An ESR Study of the Reaction of t-BuNO with (C6H7)Fe(CO)3+ and Steroidal Cation: A Novel Oscillating System" Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 396, 65-72 (1990).
  4. K. A. Sutin, L. Li, C. S. Frampton, B. G. Sayer and M. J. McGlinchey "High-Field NMR Study of Vertex Rotation in (C5HnMe5-n)MCo2(CO)8CR Clusters (M = Mo, W): X-ray Crystal Structure of (C5Me5)MoCo2(CO)8CCO2-i-Pr" Organometallics, 10, 2362-2370(1991).
  5. L. Li, M.F. D'Agostino and M.J. McGlinchey "Variable Temperature 1- and 2-dimensional 13C NMR Studies on CH3CCo3(CO)8P(cyclo-C6H11)3: the Mechanism of Carbonyl Migration" Organometallics, 11, 477-481 (1992).
  6. M. Gruselle, H. E. Hafa, M. Nikolski, G. Jaouen, J. Vaissermann, L. Li and M.J. McGlinchey "Metal Cluster Stabilized 2-Bornyl Cations: A Synthetic, X-ray Crystallographic, and EHMO Study" Organometallics, 12, 4917-4925 (1993).
  7. L. Li, A. Decken, B.G. Sayer, M.J. McGlinchey and C. Lapinte "Multiple Fluxional Processes in Chiral Pentaphenylcyclopentadienyl Iron Complexes" Organometallics, 13, 682-689 (1994).
  8. L. Li, G. D. Enright and K. F. Preston "Synthesis and X-ray Crystal Structure of a Novel Iron Nitrosyl Complex: Fe(NO)2(PPh3)[η2-(NC)2C=C(CN)2]", Organometallics, 13, 4686-4688 (1994).
  9. L. Li, J. R. Morton and K. F. Preston, "EPR Study of Iron-Nitrosyl Clusters in the Oxidation of Fe(NO)2(CO)2", Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, 31, S14-S19, (1995).
  10. K. L. Malisza, L. Li and M. J. McGlinchey, "Delocalized Bonding in Tetrahedral organo-Transition Metal Clusters: An EHMO study of Metal Vertex Rotation in Co2Fe(CO)9S, CpMoCo2(CO)8CR, and in Cp2Mo2(CO)4(RC=CR)", Can. J. Chem., 74, 1021-1031, (1996).
  11. A. Hörsken, C. T. C. McCrory, and L. Li, "Syntheses, Structures and Dynamics of Transition Metal Nitrosyl Complexes",Proceedings in the Symposium on Frontiers of Chemistry, 269-270 (1997).
  12. A. Hörsken, G. Zheng, M. Stradiotto, C. T. C. McCrory, and L. Li "Iron Dinitrosyl Complexes Containing TCNE: A Synthetic, X-ray Crystallographic, High Field NMR, and Electrochemical Study" J. Organomet. Chem.,558, 1-9 (1998).
  13. G. Zheng, M. Stradiotto and L. Li "The in situ IR-spectroelectrochemistry Study of the Reaction Intermediates of Electrocarboxylation Catalyzed by Metalloporphyrin" J. Electroanal. Chem., 453, 79-88 (1998).
  14. A. Hörsken, G. Zheng, and L. Li "Novel Nonlinear Optical Materials Containing Organometallic Transition-metal Nitrosyls: Syntheses, Structures and Dynamics", Proceedings in the 2rd Asian Symposium on Organized Molecular Films for Electronic and Photonics, 20-21 (1998).
  15. C. Wang, Y. Zhang, J. Gao, W. Zhang, Y. F. Lu, Y. B. Bai, T. J. Li, L. Li and Y. Wei "Preliminary Study on Oligoaniline/Silica Composite Nana-particles as a High Density Information Storage Materials", Chem. J. Chin Univ., 20, 1491 (1999).
  16. Y. Zhang, S. R. Breeze, S. Wang, J. E. Greedan, N. P. Raju and L. Li "Polynuclear Co(II) and Cu(II) Complexes of Tetraacetylethane: Cu(II)2(dpa)2(tae)(O2CCF3)2, {[Cu(II)2(dpa)2(tae)(4,4'-bipy)](O2CCF3)2}n, and [Co(II)2(dpa)4(tae)](O2CCH3)2(H2O)2, dpa = 2,2'-dipyridylamine, tae = tetraacetylethane dianion" Can. J. Chem., 77, 1424(1999).
  17. Y. H. Huang, Q. Yu, S. Zhu, G. L. Rempel and L. Li "ESR Studies on Oxidation State of Titanocene and Zirconocene Catalysts",J. Polymer Sci.: Part A: Polymer Chem., 37, 1465-1472 (1999).
  18. N. Reginato, C. T. C. McCrory, D. Pervitsky and L. Li "Synthesis, X-ray Crystal Structure, and Solution Behavior of Fe(NO)2(1-MeIm)2: Implications for Nitrosyl Non-heme-iron Complexes with g = 2.03", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 121, 10217 (1999).
  19. G. Zheng, J. D. Liarakos and L. Li "Metalloporphyrin Catalyzed Electrocarboxylation of Alkyl Halides: Elucidate Mechanisms by Electrochemical and in situ IR-spectroelectrochemical Methods”, (Invited review) Recent Res. Devel. Electroanal. Chem., Transworld Research Network, 2, 89-115 (2000).
  20. L. Li "Some Coordination Chemistry of Non-heme Iron Nitrosyl Complexes", Comm. Inorg. Chem., 23, 335-353 (2002).
  21. L. Li, N. Reginato, M. Urschey, M. Stradiotto and J. Liarakos "The synthesis and Crystallographic Characterization of Linear and Cyclic Dinitrosyl Complexes Containing Bis(phosphine) Bridgeing Ligands", Can. J. Chem., 81, 468-475 (2003).
  22. W. Liu, C. Wang, T. Shi, W. Zhang and L. Li "Synthesis and Properties of Liquid Crystal Zinc Porphyrin", Polymer Preprints, 44(2), 877 (2003).
  23. X. Wang, S. Wang, L. Li, A. E. B. Sundberg and G. P. Gacho "Synthesis, Structure and Catalytic Activity of Mononuclear Iron and -oxo Diiron Complexes with Ligand 2,6-bis(N-methylbenzimidazol-2-yl)pyridine". Inorg. Chem., 42, 7799-7808 (2003).
  24. L. Li, E. B. Sudberg and X. Wang "Synthesis, Structures and Spectroscopic Studies of non-heme Iron Nitrosyl Complexes", J. Inorg. Biochem. 96, 179 (2003).
  25. S. Wang, X. Wang, L. Li and R. C. Advincula, "Design, Synthesis and Photochemical Behavior of Poly(benzyl ester) Dendrimers with Azobenzene Groups Throughout Their Architecture", J. Org. Chem., 69, 9073-9084 (2004).
  26. X. Wang, E. B. Sundberg, L. Li, K. Kantardjieff, S. Herron, M. Lim and P. C. Ford "A Cyclic Tetra-Nuclear Dinitrosyl Iron Complex [Fe(NO)2(Imidazolate)]4: Synthesis and Structure" J. Chem. Soc. Chem. Comm. ,477-479, (2005).
  27. R. C. Struthers, D. B. Chang, R. Toossi, S. Ahdout, L. Li, and R. G. Palomba, "Storage device for sorption and desorption of molecular gas contained by storage sites of nano-filament laded reticulated aerogel., United States Patent #6906003. (2005)
  28. N. Guo, Y. Zhao, Y. Zhang, L. Dong, L. Li, and C. Wang, "Roles of TiO2 Nano-Particles in the Formation of Monolithic Silica-Gels via Bulk Sol-Gel Process", R. J. Inorg. Chem., 50(2), 158-164 (2005).
  29. X. Li, C. Wang, Y. Li, H. B. Liu and L. Li, "The Effects of CdS Nanorods on the Morphology of ELectrospun Poly(vinyl pyrrolidonr) Products", Journal Solid State Phenomena, 121, 109-112 (2007).
  30. Y. Y. Zhao, X. Li, C. Wang and L. Li,, "The Effects of Organic Solvent on the Electrospinning of Water-Soluble Polyacrylamide with Ultrahigh Molecular Weight", Journal Solid State Phenomena, 121, 113-116 (2007).
  31. X. Li, C. Wang, L. Li, Y. Y. Zhao, H. Y. Wang and Y. Young, "Preparation and Dielectric Property Investigation of Ferrocene/Poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) Composite Membranes", J. Nanosci and Nanotech., 9, 704-708 (2008).
  32. R. Wang, W. Xu, J. Zhang, and L. Li, "Synthesis, characterization and crystal structure of a dinuclear iron nitrosyl complex with 2-mercapto-1-[2-(4-pyridyl)-ethyl]-benzimidazolyl", J. Mol. Struc., 923, 110-113 (2009).
  33. R. Wang, M. A. Camacho-Fernandez, W. Xu, J. Zhang and L. Li, "Neutral and Reduced Roussin's Red salt Ester [Fe22(NO)4] (R = n-Pr, t-Bu, 6-methyl-2-pyridyl and 4,6-dimethyl-2-pyrimidyl): Synthesis, X-ray Crystal Structures, Spectroscopic, Electrochemical and Density Functional Theoretical Investigations", Dalton Trans., 777-786 (2009).
  34. X. Song, Z. Wang, Y. Liu, C. Wang and L. Li, "A high sensitive gas sensor for ethanol based on Mesoporous ZnO-SnO2 nanofibres", Nanotechnology, 20, 075501, (2009).
  35. R. Wang, J. Zhang and L. Li, "Conformation Preference of a Flexible Cyclohexanetetracarboxylate Ligand in Three New Metal-Organic Frameworks: Structures, Magnetic and Luminescent Properties", Inorg. Chem., 48 (15), 7194-7200 (2009).
  36. R. Wang, X. Wang, E. B. Sundberg, P. Nguyen, G. P. G. Grant, C. Sheth, Q. Zhao, S. Herron, K. A. Kantardjieff and L. Li, "Synthesis, Structures, Spectroscopic and Electrochemical Properties of Dinitrosyl Iron Complexes with Bipyridine, Terpyridine, and 1,10-Phenathroline", Inorg. Chem., 48 (20), 9779-9785 (2009).
  37. R. Wang, J. Zhang and L. Li, "A 2D Metal-Organic Framework with a Flexible Cyclohexane-1,2,5,6-tetracarboxylic Acid Ligand: Synthesis, Characterization and Photoluminescent Property" J. Mol. Struc., 970, 14-18 (2010).
  38. R. Wang, W. Xu, J. Zhang and L Li, "A New Hexanuclear Iron-Selenium Nitrosyl Cluster: Primary Exploration of the Preparation Methods, Structure, Spectroscopic and Electrochemical Properties", Inorg. Chem., 49, 4814-4819 (2010).

Lab Group Members

Current Members

  • Dr. Shuangxi Wang
  • Linlin Li
  • Van Buzzo
  • Sandra Hernandez
  • Chau Nguyen
  • Michelle Ho
  • Edward Kim
  • Diana Yanez
  • Christopher Castillo

Former Members of the Group

Post-doctoral Fellows

  • Dr. Rongming Wang, (10/2006 - 08/2009), hired by the China University of Petroleum (East China) as an Associate Professor
  • Dr. Ximeng Wang, (02/2001 - 08/2005), working in industry
  • Dr. Tie Sun, (01/1998 - 08/1999), working in Dow Chemical Co.
  • Dr. Guodong Zheng, (02/1996 - 04/1997), working in industry in Denver

Graduate Students

  • Wei Xu, (08/2006 - 08/2008), writing thesis; admitted to the Ph.D. program at UCLA
  • Ting (Nico) Hu, (08/2005 - 08/2007), writing thesis; admitted to the Ph.D. program at UC Irvine
  • Miguel Camacho, (09/2004 - 08/2008), writing thesis; admitted to the Ph.D. program at UC Irvine
  • Rosmery Tajiboy, (05/2003 - 08/2008), writing thesis and teaching at El Camino Community College
  • Fawzi Qazi, (01/2002 - 08/2005), writing thesis and teaching at a private high school
  • Alex Shaaban, (09/1999 - 08/2005), writing thesis and working in Orange County Water Treatment
  • Gian Gacho, (08/2001 - 12/05), Admitted to Ph.D. program at USC
  • Jennifer Morrison, (08/01-12/05), Hired by Amgen Pharmaceutical
  • Peter Do, (01/2003 - 08/04), Admitted to Nova Dental School
  • Phuong-Mai Nguyen, (09/98-06/02), Received Outstanding Thesis Award in 2002, working in Biotech in Costa Mesa
  • Dmitry Pervitsky, (01/99-08/01), received Outstanding Thesis Award in 2001; Admitted to Ph.D. program at UC Irvine
  • John Liarakos, (09/98-12/05), working at Varian Inc.
  • Chris McCrory, (09/96-09/98), Entered Ph.D. program at McMaster University; working in industry after graduation
  • Roger Liu, (09/96-09/98), Entered Ph.D. Program at McMaster University; working as PDF in France
  • Nada Reginato, (09/97-09/99), Entered Ph.D. program at McMaster University; working in Government after graduation
  • Bill Huang, (07/97-08/99), jointly supervised with Dr. S. Zu in the Dept. of Chem. Eng.
  • Guodong Zheng (05/97-06/99), Entered Ph.D. program at McMaster University, working in industry after graduation

Undergraduate Students

  • Vincent Nervaez, (06/2009 - 08/2009), NIH-BRIDGES student; transferred to UC Irvine
  • Peter Shahid, (06/2009 - 08/2009), NIH-BRIDGES student; transferred to UC Irvine
  • George Youseff, (01/2009 - 12/2009), graduated with BS degree and plan to attend pharmacy school
  • Matthew Smith, (09/2008 - 05/2009), President Scholar, completed BS degree and plan to study Forensic Sciences
  • Carlos Peinado, (06/2007 - 08/2007), NIH-BRIDGES Program; transferred to UC Berkeley
  • Steven Bolivar, (06/2007 - 08/2007), NIH-BRIDGES Program; transferred to UC Irvine
  • Kanupon Khumsupan, (01/2007 - 12/2008), completed BS in 2010.
  • Kelly Gibson, , (01/2007 - 12/2008), completed BS degree and plan to attend Pharmacy School
  • Janet Doan, (01/2007 - 12/2008), completed BS degree and plan to attend Pharmacy School
  • Ashley Tiu, (06/2006 - 05/2008), completed BS degree and plan to attend Pharmacy School
  • Zhujuan Jiang, (06/2006 - 12/2008), completed BS degree, admitted by USC School of Pharmacy
  • Thomas Combahee, (06/2006 - 12/2007), completed BS degree, admitted by a Pharmacy School in Arizona
  • Peter Thuy-Boun, (06/2006 - 09/2007), transferred to UCLA
  • Heather Sanchaz, (09/04-05/07), President Scholar; admitted by the Veterinarian.s Program at University of Iowa
  • Mary Guirguis, (01/05-05/06)
  • Rosalie Reynoso, (06/06-08/06), Bridges student
  • Nathalie Fernando, (06/06-08/06), Bridges student, transferred to UCLA.
  • Jasmine Shaw, (05/03-08/06), completed Honor's Thesis
  • Chaitali Sheth, (01/02-08/06), completed Honor's Thesis, admitted to Fullerton Optometry School
  • Kert Kenttel, (06/05-08/05), BRIDGES student, transferred to UC, Ivine
  • Susan Som, (06/05-07/05), BRIDGES student, transferred to UCLA
  • Kara Schones, (01/03-05/04), working in Boeing Corp
  • Malin Backlund, (09/02-05/04), completed Honor's Thesis; admitted to Ph.D. Program at UC Irvine
  • Eric Sundberg, (05/01-05/04), completed Honor's thesis; Received 1 prize at 2002 CSULB Research Competition; 2 prize at CSU Research Competition; Awarded Excellent presentation at Sigma Xi Research Symposium in 2003; Admitted to Medical School at Stanford University
  • Fathi Faezeh, (01/02-12/03)
  • Rachel Lin, (summer 2003), Troy High School Intern, Entered UC Irvine
  • Ruth Vilchez, (01/02-12/02), K-12 science teacher
  • Jennifer Morrison, (09/00-08/01), Entered MS program at CSULB; working in industry after graduation
  • Rene Martinez, (summer 2002), Community college student, transferred to UCLA
  • Teresa Trujillo, (05/00-12/01), MSD program
  • Viviana Torres, (05/00-12/01), MSD program
  • Kishma Badal, (05/00-12/00), MSD program
  • Juan Serrano, (Summer 2000), Community college student, transferred to UCLA
  • Pamela Lim, (Summer 2000), Community college student, transferred to UC Irvine
  • Jentry Kear, (05/00-09/00), working in industry
  • Jennifer Dulalia, (09/99-05/00), working in industry
  • Maria Matutina, (09/99-05/00), Completed Honor's thesis, working in UCLA medical facilities
  • Michael Urschey, (09/97-04/98), completed Honor's thesis; entered Ph.D. program at Duisberg University, Germany
  • Ryan Singh, (09/97-04/98), completed Honor's thesis; admitted to PhD program at Univ. of Toronto
  • Roman Melynk, (01/98-05/98), jointly supervised with Dr. Chan, Biochemistry
  • Dino Amoroso, (09/96-04/97), completed Honor's thesis and received 1997 University Special Achievement Award for his thesis; entered Ph.D. program at University of Ottawa; working in industry after graduation
  • Nada Reginato, (09/96-04/97), completed Honor's thesis; became graduate student at McMaster University; working in Government labs after graduation
  • Chris McCrory, (09/95-04/96), completed Honor's thesis; became graduate student at McMaster University; working in industry after graduation
  • Arna Hoersken, (09/95-04/96), completed Honor's thesis; entered Ph.D. program at Duisberg University, Germany
  • Hieke Stemmer, (09/95-04/96), completed Honor's thesis; entered Ph.D. program at Duisberg University, Germany

Teaching Interests

  • CHEM 111B, General Chemistry
  • CHEM 331, Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 332, Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
  • CHEM 373, Physical-Inorganic Laboratory
  • CHEM 431, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 496, Directed Undergraduate Research
  • CHEM 531, Advances in Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 595, Analytical, Inorganic and Physical Colloquium
  • CHEM 695, Directed Reading
  • CHEM 697, Directed Graduate Research
  • CHEM 698, MS Thesis